Monthly Archives: November 2008

Fossett Unedited

This article was originally posted to on November 25, 2008


Since I’m away this week, I thought it might be fun to cheat and put up the unpublished first draft of an article I revised and finally posted November 10.

I was about to delete this draft, but thought it was remarkable how different this version was from what I finally posted. That final article was eight short sentances – the “FANCI HALLOWEEN 2008″  section at the end of  the “NEW GUNS“  post.

Literally everything in this draft got deleted when I went back to edit it. Thank god for editing!

Since this post is sort of ‘insider baseball,’ I’ll only leave it up for a week while I’m gone. See you soon!


Party Monster

Early last evening I got a call from Vin Mariani, who was munching popcorn over in Quoddy Head sim while watching Night of the Living Dead as part of the horror movie marathon put on by Surf and Beejee. The grit and graininess of that George Romero movie coupled with it’s screenplay full of classic cult lines make NLD a “so-bad-it’s-great” must-see each year film around Halloween. I admit it, however: this is the first time I have ever seen it in Second Life.

It turned out Chaos was already sailing his Knockabout en route towards the dockside cinema, and I caught up with him in Osprey Reef.  He suggested we take a little detour on the way to get a look at the furthest West points in the chain of 10 sims (see below). He was right; it is right around the corner, but we almost never sail through those sims. Well, we did on Halloween!

We had a great sail that only took a few extra minutes (well,  actually 20 minutes, but it was worth it). It proved easy to tack through the multiple islands that adorned the sims as we moved Westward.  There are shallow spots over there, so pay attention when you cruise through. The Sims were planned with sailboats in mind so it’s no problem: the shallow areas are where you’d expect them to be.

I known I’m being redundant, but let me say again that the sims in this region were very attractive at night, even though we sailed through far too quickly to fully appreciate all the region has to offer.   Go back and take a look for yourself!

Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Memories of Bulia

As you move from East to West at this latitude, take a look at the map above. You pass a series of pretty diverse landmarks. For example, just before you reach the border that defines the entry into USS-West you’ll see an impressive island with notable vertical bluffs off to starboard. That’s the Medici/ White Residential Compound located in Union Passage Sim (where it sits under the watchful eye of the Osprey Coast Guard Station immediately to the South). Give a loud WOOT! to SYC’s Rear Commodores as you pass bye!

Right beyond that you’ll see the USS Bulia Historical Sim-Site, commemorating the day the Lawson Landing/Sailors Cove Estate linked waters with USS this past summer, freeing sailors from the oppression of arbitrary and capricious sailing barriers that emerged following the Great East-West Schism.

Great Wall dividing East and West

I recall the events of that Great Day with crystal clarity… Marktwain White, his jaw set and his eyes resolute, standing confident and tall at the helm of the SYC Committee Boat. Nothing unusual; just another routine day in USS-South. However, a bare heartbeat later the lazy harbor mood flipped upside down and burst electric when MTW spun the wheel with deliberate force, bringing the nose of the SYC command boat sharply around to a new bearing that pointed dead West.  Even before the boat completed its pivot to the new course, Mark’s left hand found the engine controls, and pushed them to the limit,  locking both throttles wide open. Suddenly unleashed, the dual outboards responded with a ferocious roar and the props dug in. For a tiny fraction of a second the boat seemed motionless, and I could see it pitching aft as the props torqued, looking for all the world like a lion on its haunches prepared to spring. During that instant Marks right arm stretched forward, index finger calling out his target: The Bulia Wall. Enough was enough; no more discussion. Today that wall was coming down.

Then the image vanished as the boat lept forward with the force of a rocket sled, the cavitating props Rumors implicate young MTW in the Kong wall-breach incidentcovering the scene in an envelope of exploding salt spray. I heard Chad mutter to himself  ”Dang… He must have tuned up those engines last night… Did he buy that script in Texas?” Heads bobbed in silent agreement with Chad, as we watched the SYC boat lunge forward with all the force MTW could coax out of his pre-mono SL vehicle algorithm.

Let me tell you, Mark never wavered from that due West course, and he slammed that boat straight dead center against the rocks at the base of the Bulia Wall, riding the shattered remains of the boat’s cockpit a full quarter of the distance up the incline of the much hated, but heretofore impenetrable, Barrier separating USS from the world to the West.

The deafening noise that erupted from MTW’s audacious assault immediately resounded across the entire grid, and sailors everywhere turned their attention to Bulia, their facial expressions betraying a shared sense of wide-eyed shock and awe.

no animals were injured while writing this post.What those sailors next witnessed will, without doubt, go down in the annals of SL Sailing folklore and legend. Mirabile dictu, high over the West horizon the crowd suddenly saw Patrick Leavitt’s seaplane descend from the clouds, haloed in the reflection of the morning sun. The crowd gave out an involuntary gasp as Patrick pitched the plane’s nose into a near vertical dive aimed  at the West side of that despised Bulia Wall, and as he picked up speed he calmy selected an impact point precisely opposite the place where MTW was now comfortably standing, waiting for him.

Legend has it that Patrick used his estate-owner superpowers to channel the combined force of Sailors Cove’s more than two dozen sims in an attempt to reach a theoretical critical cpu temperature threshold needed to melt wall prims off the server. Patrick never acknowledged that rumor; his spokesperson offerred a written statement saying only that each of us must be willing to take those steps necessary to confront and end divisive tyranny wherever it occurs.

However he impelled that vehicle, Patrick adjusted his angle of impact with precision; the high velocity collision that resulted put a really bad scratch mark on the west wall prims, while bouncing Patrick out of the plane’s cockpit to safety on dry land at the base of the wall. You may ask where Patrick acquired the skill to pull off such a hazardous trick? Well, background research at reveals incontrovertible video evidence that Patrick had repeatedly practiced this precise suicidal collision maneuver in the Big Cat Cup Races, where he repeatedly bashed his Z-40 catamaran into the EOW. On more than one occasion he sustained a concussion and was knocked totally out of SL!  When I saw him do this again and again, I admit I thought Patrick was just clumsy or had a slow learning curve. Now we finally know the real story. He was practicing a secret mission to help rid sailors of despotic navigational tyranny!

So you may wonder what happened next; MTW was on the East side, Patrick was on the West. I have it on very good authority they both clambered up to the top of that awful wall, the wall that divided sailors against their will, and Patrick and MTW announced Never Again in barbershop harmony. In a message of hope and determination that still rings loud and clear to this day, they together pledged an end to the wall and they vowed to fight any future effort to obstruct open waterways or free communication in the sailing community.

I know that sounds like a tall order, but have some faith. As soon as they put the bullhorns down, I’m pretty sure they noticed it was getting late, so they turned around and asked Fanci and Nber to call the concierge to get LL to haul away the pile of broken toys littering the passage way. Then, arm in arm, they trundled off to lunch, another job well done.

[Please Note: If your recollection of the above events is different than what I just described, please DO NOT e-mail me. We all know that eye-witness testimony concerning long past events is notoriously unreliable, and after painstaking personal reflection, I’m absolutely certain my version is at least 31% accurate.
Anyway, if it did not happen as I reported, then it should have. Beside, it’s my version, and I’m sticking to it!
If you want objective proof, you’ll have to wait for the movie version.]

Points of Interest for the Accidental Tourist: Further West

Meanwhile, back at our sailing tour of Southern USS-West, the next point of interest is the German language Schiffsratten Yacht Club is located in Tiga sim.  Going fairly quickly, it took us about 20 minutes to cross through all of the Sims to the West as shown in the diagram above and then make it back to Tiga so we could start heading North. If you decide to cruise through this region I’d suggest leaving 40 – 60 minutes for the tour, since there are so many places to dally along the way.

Well,anyway, remember Vin? He was still at the movies watching the original NLD. chaos and I actually made pretty good time sailing, and arrived someplace in the middle of the film when the blonde girl from the graveyard (a.k.a.”Johnny’s sister“) has an acute delusional anxiety episode. That actualy happens a lot, and her character is so useless in the movie it’s hard to find generate much compassion for her sorry plight.  Actually, the thing that has always bothered me most about her over the years (yes I have thought about this, actually) is the fact she never takes off her raincoat through the movie.  It makes sense that she is wearing it in the graveyard when they get attacked, but when they go into the farmhouse she never takes it off. I know, I know, you think that’s a pretty small item… well, after you see the movie 20 times you notice those things (to paraphrase John Waters: “Let’s watch that move again, but this time just look at everybody’s elbows!”).

I mention this issue here because After 10 minutes Vin, Chaos and I had settled into the chairs and flipped from skipper-mode to movie fan-mode well enough that we all suddenly shouted “Take off the raincoat!!!” in unison.  Grin; actually, I guess that’s no real surprise. A race crew lives for that kind of teamwork!!

Eventually, of course, we knew it was time for us to move on, since we were already late for the Halloween party Fanci Beebe and Patrick Leavitt  were throwing a on the sim just South of where we were currently eating popcorn.  I guess I should also mention that Chaos was all set for the party. he left his foul weather sailing gear at home, and  has sealed all evening wrapped up as a mummy, “Tiny Version.”  I have to admit it.  When it comes to the “undead,” Chaos Mandelbrot was pretty impressive.

Haunted Mansion in USS-West

The only thing that really bothered me was the fact he continued to decompose all evening long.

Anyway, we made a dramatic appearance at the sim. I took the helm for the first time that evening and a perfect hockey stop right at the center of the dock.  of course, nobody paid any attention so we climbed out of the boat and walked up the winding path to the dance floor.

NOTE: Draft #1 abruptly ended here when I reread the post and realized it totally fell off the tracks around the second paragraph….


New Guns

This article was originally posted to on November 10, 2008.

I Want a New Gun

Last year’s Americas Cup Anywhere32 -Second Life regatta was a landmark in the development of SLSailing, and the ACA32 Racer was its tangible focal point, a sleek but majestic ship, the stuff of dreams and imagination.


I have great admiration for the energy and resources invested by so many people to make the ACA-Cup successful, and I routinely give new sailors the links to Surfwidow Beaumonts videos so they can share in the excitement.

The ACA-SL Cup helped stimulate the growth of SLSailing, and now eighteen months after the event, I’m impressed that the skill and enthusiasm of SLSailing’s race fleets have grown substantially. I’d even argue SL Sailors have lived up to the hype and the promise of Surfwidow’s great ACA-SL video promo:
They’ve been haunted by a dream/
They are obsessed with it/
They will have to fight hard to capture it…”

Part of that dream is the boat, one that lives up to the reputation of the America’s Cup class. SL racers need a boat that pushes their skill, a boat that excites the imagination, but also one it’s grounded in a well-developed SL emulation of AC racing and design spec.
When it originally launched, the ACA32 was a good boat. However, within a few months  the boat was ‘old technology,’ due largely to Owen Oyen’s introduction of apparent wind and windshadow effects in the ACC1.0.

The boat remained quite popular, however, and an upgrade was finally released at the end of July 2008; the ACA33.  although the new boat contained a form of limited “wind shadow,” a number of well-recognized earlier bugs persisted in the new release, and PHRF testing showed no real difference in bottom-line race performance between the ACA32 and ACA33.

Nonetheless, the huge sail plan makes the boat hard to miss, and the ACA33′s seen a resurgence of popularity over the last couple months.  It was the featured boat yesterday at the Sunday Starboard regatta.

Meanwhile, back in the boatyard, J Trudeau took a new look at the ACA33 and went through fixing a pretty hefty bug list. The 1.7/1.8 versions of the boat have substantial improvements in the HUD and racewind lock.  At the same time she fixed the port/starboard speed difference (the original ACA33, like its predecessor ACA32 was 10% faster on a port tack).

There were yet more problems with the distributed versions of the 1.7/1.8 boat, so the boat is technically back in beta at the moment.  My understanding is the boat may get a new windshadow system in addition to another bug fix. Look for something in December.

But while we’re talking about it, I’ll tell you what I really want for my very merry ACA Christmas…  I want an ACA33 that uses apparent wind! I mean what’s windshadow without apparent wind?  That’s like a day without sunshine… (I’ll keep you posted)


Tiny tested

And now here’s the answer to a question you never asked:

Can a tiny avatar sail a Leetle Cat without a major overhaul?

Chaos Mandelbrot has been toiling hard and keeping late nights going through the beta test fleet of boats to make sure the boats are safe or easily adaptable for use by Tinies. As you can see below, the LCat passes!!

T20 Tiny approved

Apparently the jury is still out on the ACA33. The trial run we did appeared to have a problem with the relative position of the attached hull to the tiny.

ACA33 Chaos Tiny

We actually think this could be the snowman’s fault, not the boats, and so further testing is indicated.  As always, we will keep you informed as news breaks on this one.

Snowman and ACA33


You need more fizz your life

You probably already heard about this, but given all the other disappointments in your life this past week I’m not sure you believed this could possibly be true.  I’m here to confirm it.

It's coming...

There is a new Fizz  working its way along the Mothgirl production line.  When I got a chance to see it, it still hadn’t been water tested.

This boat looks very interesting with a bunch of new features I’ll tell you about once I get chance to see it in action.  And that may be pretty soon, since I heard that Taku Raymaker’s fleet had the boat out this morning. Rumor has it… everybody lived!!!

The new features in this boat might even get me to attempt to sail a Fizz again.

A Fanci Halloween 2008

I wanted to give a big shout out to Fanci Beebe for hosting this year’s Halloween party.

it was very nicely done, and a huge amount of work, humor and love must have gone into putting it together. I have no idea where she finds the time to do all the stuff and run all those sims… Well, what’s that phrase?

“President of the World Bank, and she still finds time to bake her own cherry pies.”

That’s Fanci!

Halloween 2008

What? What do you mean you never heard that phrase before?

The party was really great.  It was wonderful seeing old friends.  Everybody, I mean everybody, showed up.


  1. Alain Gloster's GravatarAlain Gloster
    November 11, 2008 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Version 1.9 of the ACA33 was released today which fixes most of the problems that 1.7/1.8 had. Florence has mentioned Nov15th as the tenative release date for ACA33 2.0 with the windshadow fixes and scripts compiled in mono

  2. Alain Gloster's GravatarAlain Gloster
    November 11, 2008 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Forgot to mention….love the penguin approved decal on your catboat :)